Today I Learned…

…that the electoral vote attached to the Omaha, Nebraska congressional district could very well be in play.

(Thanks once again to FiveThirtyEight for this… don’t worry, in a month I most likely won’t be linking to them anymore.)

As you may or may not know, Nebraska is one of two states (Maine being the other) that allocates its electoral votes by congressional district instead of winner-take-all.  Nebraska has 5 electoral votes — it gives one to the winner of each congressional district and the final two given to the winner of the statewide popular vote.

Two of the districts are solidly Republican.  However, the district which contains Omaha — the largest city in the state — is fairly Democratic, and the Obama campaign thinks that they can win there.  Sean at 538 spoke to Obama’s Nebraska State Director, who said that they should consider the district in play if McCain starts sending more surrogates there.  Obama just opened up a second field office in town, as well.

Well, McCain didn’t just send a surrogate — he sent Sarah Palin.  When the McCain campaign would rather have its VP nominee in Omaha, Nebraska rather than in MICHIGAN of all places (from which the Republican nominee pulled his resources in the past few days, effectively ceding the all-important swing state to Obama), you have got to think they’re running scared.

Special bonus polling data!

538 also projects Democrat Kay Hagan with a win percentage above 50% over incumbent Elizabeth Dole for the first time in the North Carolina race for the Senate.

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Today I Learned…

…that John McCain has a potentially damning facial tic.  It’s called a “tongue jut,” and it apparently has made Sean over at FiveThirtyEight some money as a professional poker player.  I won’t recap the entire article here, but suffice it to say that someone who exhibits this behavior tends to when they’re either getting away with something they know they shouldn’t or when they get caught.  You can read more at the original article on 538 — along with video showing the particular points during last week’s debate when McCain was observed exhibiting the behavior.  There’s also a fairly funny picture of Stephen Colbert, who picked up on the behavior in Monday’s edition of the Report.

From Alex, and inspired by the first presidential debate of the season.

Today I Learned…

…how to make a McCainarita:

3 parts rum
3 parts tequila
1 part lemon juice
6 parts apple cider

Mix liquors in a cut crystal goblet with the silver spoon taken from your mouth at birth. Promise to cut both taxes and spending while adding lemon juice and cider. Add ice drilled out of the pristine Alaskan landscape. Tell your guests it’s a margarita, then insist that you never said that.

If Alaskan ice is unavailable, use Russian ice – it’s pretty close.

The McCainarita: It’s a margarita – that lies.

Also… for your enjoyment, the 2008 American League East Division Champion Tampa Bay Rays.